Apostolic Letter “Spiritus Domini”: Motu proprio on the amendment of Canon 230 § 1
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,140
    Concerning the access of women to the instituted ministries of lector and acolyte:

    https://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2021/01/11/210111a.html
  • Thanks for sharing this, Liam.
    Thanked by 1Liam
  • Liam,

    You forgot to punctuate your observation properly, or give it the proper date.

    Concerning: the access of women to the instituted ministries of lector and acolyte since 1967

    It was a bad thing then, and it's a bad thing. Camel's nose, anyone?
  • Can someone explain why this is bad, beyond the tired slippery slope "female priests are next" arguments?
  • Chrism
    Posts: 729
    His Holiness himself said that clericalization of the laypeople was a problem.

    But here they've already changes some clerical roles to be "lay ministries", so voilá no problem.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,140
    CGZ

    Thank you for your voluntary editorial assistance.
  • Can someone explain why this is bad, beyond the tired slippery slope "female priests are next" arguments?

    https://biblehub.com/1_corinthians/14-34.htm
  • Bravo, Serviam!
    (Ohh! But such dicta, even if they are in the Bible, are soooo out of touch with our advanced twenty-first century society! Such attitudes are soooo [cough, cough] mideeeeval.)
    Thanked by 2ServiamScores tomjaw
  • Jackson,

    Perhaps the Middle Age is between the creation of the world and some instant immediatly before the speaker speaks? (You know, like "middle class" is anyone who isn't dirt-poor or filthy-rich).
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • How do we reconcile that with the fact that more than men are permitted to actually make responses during Mass?
  • It’s one thing to respond to a priest when he addresses you “dominus vobiscum” and another to enter the sanctuary unveiled to proclaim the epistle. In one case you’ve been addressed, in another you’re doing the addressing.
    Thanked by 2CCooze tomjaw
  • Serviam,

    Do I understand you to have said "If you're being addressed, you may reply, and should do so, in fact." and "Unless you've been addressed, you're not replying to anything, but speaking out of turn".
  • If we desire to distinguish carefully and rigorously between the common priesthood and the ministerial priesthood, terminology used in Lumen Gentium, I don't find it particularly helpful or insightful to say that the ministries of lector and acolyte are based upon Christ's priesthood in which we participate by virtue of our baptism. In other words, they're ministries and they're based on Christ's priesthod, but they're not ministerial priesthood. Perhaps it is better in the interest of clarity not to call these offices ministries at all.

    I've also thought that one should be required to be capable of chanting readings to become an instituted reader. Not holding my breath for that to happen.
  • I’m saying that if we take St. Paul seriously, and I presume we should, then it is quite against his explicit teaching to have a woman proclaiming readings from the pulpit or ambo. I do not believe, however, that it is unlawful for women to respond as part of the normal responses or the ordinary which are proper to all people.

    Ioannes, what we must remember is that lectors and acolytes have liturgical roles. In the past these were actually early stages of ordination but were suppressed. So technically speaking, the church’s own tradition admits them as ministerial roles proper to the developmental stages of becoming a priest. Obviously, they are not the same as holy orders so praxis can change, but they were nevertheless linked to it.
    Thanked by 2CCooze tomjaw
  • I’m saying that if we take St. Paul seriously, and I presume we should, then it is quite against his explicit teaching to have a woman proclaiming readings from the pulpit or ambo. I do not believe, however, that it is unlawful for women to respond as part of the normal responses or the ordinary which are proper to all people.

    Funny - I don't remember St. Paul saying "Women may speak only when spoken to" or "Women may only speak when all the men are speaking as well" in that passage you cited. If we're going to use bits of Scripture to bolster our argument, that one seems pretty explicit: Women should remain silent. It's basically legalism to argue that passage supports your particular argument, but doesn't lend credence to Pius X wanting women out of choirs, for instance. Seeing as the current liturgical praxis doesn't mandate female silence anywhere else, I'm not of the view that St. Paul's statement should be applied directly to anything in the liturgy.
    (Ohh! But such dicta, even if they are in the Bible, are soooo out of touch with our advanced twenty-first century society! Such attitudes are soooo [cough, cough] mideeeeval.)

    Jackson, I usually think extremely highly of your erudite wisdom on these forums, and count. I was disappointed to see something like this posted under your name; I find this to be rather out of line and low-brow for your usual standard.

    I am no lover of the Pope or his usually strange, vacuous pronouncements, like that on the death penalty, which seem to be backed by little reason at all. I have defended the Church tirelessly against those who would call her "sexist" for refusing to ordain female priests or bishops, because there is a clear and well-defended reason for doing so that hearkens back to the Church's foundation. I want clown Masses no more than the rest of you.

    And yet, when this issue comes up and, having perused the literature myself, I see no reason to oppose this--and ask for legitimate reasons why those here are opposed--the best this forum can muster is a smugly delivered citation from St. Paul (out-of-context, and lawyered to suit the argument of the week) and self-congratulation. Jackson, you would be the first to decry those who insisted we follow the Mosaic dietary laws merely because they are in the Bible.

    If there is an issue with the idea of these minor ministries as a whole, that is a separate issue. But the stance I have seen so far is entirely akin to pulling out Tra le sollecitudini to defend not having women in your choir, as if it carries any weight in modern liturgical practice. I don't think holding that stance necessarily makes you sexist, but it sure does give ammunition to those who would unfairly call the Church sexist as a whole.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 930
    Women should remain silent. It's basically legalism to argue that passage supports your particular argument, but doesn't lend credence to Pius X wanting women out of choirs

    I'm not sure I understand this statement. It seems to completely defend the idea that women shouldn't be in church choirs - at least not during Mass.

    Also, it's not necessarily fair to say that one would decry OT things that are in the Bible, considering Christ was/is the New Covenant, and therefore the NT is what is usually one's go-to, if they aren't Jewish or trying to find something spiteful to say to Christians.
  • I'm not sure I understand this statement. It seems to completely defend the idea that women shouldn't be in church choirs - at least not during Mass.

    I personally don't think the specific passage has any relevance to today's liturgical praxis - not my opinion, but my observation based on female roles elsewhere in the liturgy. I'm saying that you can't use Scripture to support one argument, but say it doesn't matter in another when the circumstances are basically identical.

    Also, it's not necessarily fair to say that one would decry OT things that are in the Bible, considering Christ was/is the New Covenant, and therefore the NT is what is usually one's go-to, if they aren't Jewish or trying to find something spiteful to say to Christians.
    Yes, but not in these kinds of doctrinal issues. We are Catholic, not sola scriptura Protestants; we have built up a vast scholastic legacy of doctrinal development upon development where the Church has sought to refine and clarify its teaching, not only to minister to a changing world but to accommodate (and be enriched by) our growing understanding of humanity and the world. Our doctrine and moral guidance comes from the Church and its interpretations of the NT, not directly unfiltered from the NT and interpreted by us as laity.
    Thanked by 2Elmar bhcordova
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 930
    With all due respect, if the laity weren't nagging about their personal interpretations of Church teaching and finding random prelates to take up their causes (and allow abuses before any sort of change was enacted or permission granted), such issues and abuses as the one at hand might not have ever been accommodated, anyway.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 930
    "It should be stated at the outset that John Paul was not inventing theological categories. Indeed, one cannot point to a single line in the sixteen documents of Vatican II where the word “ministry” or “minister” was applied to the non-ordained. So, let’s see what the careful John Paul is saying and how that squares with what Francis is saying."

    https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2021/01/11/confusion-twice-confounded-on-the-motu-proprio-spiritus-domini/
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,938
    It is amazing that the 'One True Church' could tolerate such antics, but it is helped by Catholics being in ignorance of Scripture. Imagine if we could recall the passages listed below (see end of this email), as some poor woman with an uncovered head waltzes up to the lectern, to read a passage from St. Paul. It would be like a scene from some of the English masters of parody, perhaps Monty Python? As we all wonder if she is going to stop reading before she gets to one of those passages of Sacred Scripture, whether she is aware of such passages? Perhaps she is in ignorance of what else St. Paul wrote in the same letter? Or is she in on the joke, does she think that St. Paul did not know what he was talking about, that the Church was wrong to place his letters among the writings of Sacred Scripture?

    If we dismiss some of St. Pauls writings because we don't like them, why are we reading any of his other writings? What test has been applied other than what we like?

    1 Corinthians 14:34, 1 Corinthians 11:5, 1 Corinthians 11:13, 1 Corinthians 14:35, Ephesians 5:22, 1 Timothy 2:11-12, 1 Peter 3:1... etc.
    https://biblehub.com/1_corinthians/14-34.htm
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • And yet, when this issue comes up and, having perused the literature myself, I see no reason to oppose this--and ask for legitimate reasons why those here are opposed--the best this forum can muster is a smugly delivered citation from St. Paul (out-of-context, and lawyered to suit the argument of the week) and self-congratulation.


    With all due respect, you’re making grand assumptions about my frame of mind and heart. Just because I didn’t write a whole bunch of other prose to go with that link doesn’t mean that I’m smug or want to rub anyone’s nose in it... I simply presented to you a simple, very direct passage from scripture that (I believe) speaks for itself. That said, perhaps I should have expounded, which I will do now.

    I’m not trying to derail the thread here, but to me, this scenario is akin to when people argue that homosexuality is ok (“we’ve progressed these last few centuries! St. Paul is out of sync with modern man!”) when St. Paul explicitly says it will take you to hell. I simply don’t see how you can argue around such plain and direct statements in the NEW testament.

    Since you believe me to be cherry picking a convenient verse, let's contextualize it. St. Paul takes the first part of the chapter addressing prophesying and speaking in tongues, which, in honesty, is not as relevant to this discussion. The line I quoted, in full is as follows,
    As in all the churches of the saints, 34 the women should keep silence in churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. 35 If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.


    While it is true his primary concern here is prophesying, a few things should be noted:
    1. He specifically says "as in all the churches of the saints"; other translations state it as "as in all apostolic churches". To St. Paul, the silence of women in church is a universal norm and a mark of apostolicity.
    2. Apparently even the law mandated this; I would presume this is something to do with secular law? but even if that is the case, he clearly thinks it has a greater binding force even in the churches since it is so widespread. Alternatively he could be speaking of old Jewish ritual law, in which case he clearly thinks this prohibition still binding under the new covenant.
    3. He says it is not only bad but "shameful". I can only guess that it's because he perceives it as going against right and Godly order. By calling it "shameful" he takes it one step further than "it would be better if they didn't".
    4. He specifically says "speaks". This seems to leaves wiggle room for other things such as singing in a choir. That's a bit legalistic, I admit, but blending voices into a schola to sing a prescribed text isn't quite the same as going up to the front and making proclamations (or heaven forbid, giving "reflections" in lieu of the priest's homily, which sometimes happens...). This is where TLS comes into play and it poses practical problems, I'll grant you that.

    IIRC, Pius X's issue was that a schola actually stands in for a "choir" of clergy. Since women cant be clergy, they shouldn't sing in the schola. This norm has obviously been surpassed, at least practically speaking. I don't know whether or not to think this is right. What I do know is I wouldn't have a choir without women.

    One might rightly object that women have indeed served as acolytes for centuries at the TLM in monasteries. As I understand it, it was common practice in many monasteries for nuns to assist at the altar. This strikes me, however, as a niche case. A cloistered consecrated religious sister is a far cry from the average woman in the pew. But, a precedent is a precedent.

    A large part of my issue with this motu proprio is the change in legal status. To my mind, the situation before was a little bit like speed limits: at least in the USA you have the posted speed, say, "35mph" but the practical norm is that everyone goes 40. Changing this via motu proprio is a bit like saying, "no more speed limits". Perhaps I'm off base here. He could have simply said, "it is permitted to have women acolytes and servers". But now he's calling for formal institution. That is a step beyond legalizing the current norm.

    Interestingly, I feel compelled to share the example of one of my dearest friends. She used to lector but after a year and a half of intense prayer and reflection, she came to the conclusion that she had no business being in the sanctuary. She was a good lector who was studious and prepared ahead of time (oh, if only lectors would prepare!) and so, in a certain sense, it was difficult to see her leave the ministry when there are only a handful of lectors here to begin with, and she was one of the better ones. But I've always admired her genuine humility to accept the truth, even when it came at a cost to her.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw CCooze
  • 1 Corinthians 14:34, 1 Corinthians 11:5, 1 Corinthians 11:13, 1 Corinthians 14:35, Ephesians 5:22, 1 Timothy 2:11-12, 1 Peter 3:1... etc.


    1 Cor. 11:5, 13 — Go figure... veiling was the universal norm until the 70's.

    1 Cor. 14:35 — Sadly, there are precious few husbands left who take the faith seriously and even attempt to form their children in the faith, let alone their wives. There are very few wives who even have husbands to turn to in this respect.

    Ephesians 5:22 — the rebellion of Eve continues to rear its ugly head; this is another instance in which my friend seeks to find her salvation. Not only has she discerned she shouldn't enter the sanctuary, she decries to me how she wishes her husband would lead their family in the faith. We pray constantly that the Holy Spirit will inspire him to do so. She WANTS to be led and submit to her husband; sadly, this too is rare.

    When taken together, 1 Corinthians 14:35, Ephesians 5:22, 1 Timothy 2:11-12, 1 Peter 3:1 sure strike me as a theme... it's as though St. Paul really meant it. (And Saint Peter, too, apparently.)

    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Serviam,

    One might rightly object that women have indeed served as acolytes for centuries at the TLM in monasteries. As I understand it, it was common practice in many monasteries for nuns to assist at the altar. This strikes me, however, as a niche case. A cloistered consecrated religious sister is a far cry from the average woman in the pew. But, a precedent is a precedent.


    The cloister is a place where men may not go, except the priest to say Mass and hear confessions (and administer the other sacraments). Accordingly, allowing cloistered nuns to serve at the altar (a niche case, as you call it) makes sense so as to preserve the cloister. In fact, in the Carmelite convent I know only slightly more than passingly, there is an entrance for the priest to say Mass, but he never goes inside the cloister itself.

    Girl altar servers are (similarly) permitted everywhere they are necessary: an all girls' boarding school, a women's correctional facility....

  • I’m not trying to derail the thread here, but to me, this scenario is akin to when people argue that homosexuality is ok (“we’ve progressed these last few centuries! St. Paul is out of sync with modern man!”) when St. Paul explicitly says it will take you to hell. I simply don’t see how you can argue around such plain and direct statements in the NEW testament.

    The Church has established doctrine on homosexuality that goes far beyond Sodom & Gomorrah or quotes Paul as its sole source. And, indeed, that doctrine has developed: there wasn't much Biblical discussion of non-practicing homosexuals, for instance, something which Catholic doctrine addresses. It seems to be the same situation here.
  • Schoenbergian,

    Could the reason for the lack of Biblical treatment of the topic of non-practicing homosexuals be the result of a working assumption that conduct could be engaged in by anyone, so conduct was addressed, not a lack of it -- and perhaps also that "non-practicing homosexual" simply wasn't a category?
    Thanked by 2tomjaw CCooze
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,938
    "non-practicing homosexual" an interesting description. So what about a "non-practicing heterosexual"? This could be another description of someone who is chaste. Being a non-practicing [...] would not be sinful, unless you carried some sin in your heart such as lust.

    I don't think it is a good idea to have this obsession with just one type of sexual sin, all sexual activity outside a marriage (between a man and a woman) that is also open to conception is sinful.
  • Amen to that, tomjaw -
    Chastity is chastity, regardless of the attractions to which one was born.
    All should disabuse themselves of the charming notion that the sexual sins of some are less grievous than those of those other people.
    As tomjaw puts it irrefutably - any and all sex by all other than that between a man and a woman within the bonds of matrimony that is open to the procreation of children is equally sinful.
    And, no one has any business assuming that this or that pair of persons is practicing sexual sin. The sin is in the pride-eaten hearts of those who presume to judge.

    Question - where falls the sex, if any, between married couples who cannot have children, or of those who are well past child-bearing age?
    Thanked by 2tomjaw Elmar
  • Elmar
    Posts: 262
    digressing...
    Chastity is chastity, regardless of the attractions to which one was born.
    This.
    no one has any business assuming that this or that [pair of] person[s] is practicing sexual [or any other] sin. The sin is in the pride-eaten hearts of those who presume to judge
    That. []=my additions

    Attempt to answer your question (theologically): "cannot" or "well past" are human categories, not devine ones.
    Find corresponding biblical episodes, or more down to earth, couples having late offspring after stopping contraception 'post-menopause' - which I consider each a miracle, without being supernatural whatsoever...
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • To answer your question, Mr. Osborn- the problem with sinful sexual acts lies in their active frustration of the purposes of sexual relations- namely the unity of the spouses and procreation. For example, premarital relations violate the first end of marriage, as would in vitro fertilization. Homosexual relations and contraception violate the second. In the case of infertile or post-childbearing couples, there is no sin since there is no willed, active, intentional frustration of the ends of the sexual act.

    As a side note, when archaeologists find this thread in the future, I'm sure they will be amused at how much our conversation has developed from the original post.
  • Jackson, Tomjaw, Carson, others,

    I'm sure we could develop categories of beauty in music and fittingness for liturgical use - which are not coterminal categories -- but if I may add a further clarification, there must be a distinction between natural acts which are still sinful and un-natural acts, which can't be not-sinful.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • Elmar
    Posts: 262
    digressing further...
    un-natural acts, which can't be not-sinful
    like e.g. blogging???
    Thanked by 2a_f_hawkins tomjaw
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,387
    Can people please get back to the subject instead of discussing unnatural acts?
  • Since His Holiness changed Canon Law, does anyone have the Latin text to compare side-by-side, to see what the actual change is. I guess what I'm driving at is "Could the text be read to say exactly the same thing it used to say, or is that reading no longer consistent with the canon in question?"
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,209
    Can't see the Latin posted yet. The English says
    I therefore decree that Canon 230 § 1 of the Code of Canon Law shall in future have the following formulation:

    “Lay persons who possess the age and qualifications established by decree of the conference of bishops can be admitted on a stable basis through the prescribed liturgical rite to the ministries of lector and acolyte. Nevertheless, the conferral of these ministries does not grant them the right to obtain support or remuneration from the Church”.

    I also order the amendment of the other provisions having the force of law which refer to this canon.


    I note that any conference of bishops would seem to be free to establish sex as a local qualification!
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • CIC 230.1 used to say § 1. Viri laici, qui aetate dotibusque pollent Episcoporum conferentiae decreto statutis,...

    On the day of the announcement a revised version was already on the vatican.va web site, and the text just lost the initial "viri" and nothing else.
  • Ok., so unless it says "filii etfiliae", one could reasonably construe 'persons' to mean male members of the species.
    Thanked by 1CCooze